Copper assists in the formation of hemoglobin and red blood cells by facilitating the absorption of iron and may protect against atherosclerosis. Iron metabolism depends on copper. Zinc and copper have similar elemental properties and have a balancing effect on each other. Both are related to the functioning of the nervous system and compete in the intestinal tract for absorption.
Excess zinc supplementation affects the absorption of copper. Too much vitamin C can impair its metabolism. Copper is a component of superoxide dismutase (SOD), an antioxidant enzyme; and it is necessary for the production of ATP, adenosine triphosphate, the body’s energy source. Synthesis of collagen, certain hormones, and enzymes depend on copper.
High levels of copper may aggravate PMS and it can be increased by the use of birth control pills. Excess copper can cause mental and emotional problems and may be prominent in schizophrenia. Anemia not helped by iron may be an
indication of elevated copper levels. Serum copper, elevated by estrogens, rises progressively during pregnancy and takes several months to return to normal after delivery, during which time the mineral could be a factor in the depression and psychosis women often experience right after giving birth. Excess copper may be getting into
the diet from contaminated food and water and copper pipes through which drinking water flows.